Carry Me Back to Virginia

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It’s blog-official: we moved again.

I’m over at Latin Business Today, talking about strategies to survive moving with young children: Four Ways to Make Moving with Little Kids (Relatively) Stress-Free.

Even before kids, I needed strategies to survive moving because it’s truly one of my most hated activities. (See here and here, and of course the famous Beer on the Head Story.) But as you see, we’ve moved a lot and I think maybe I’ve gotten a little better at it. I basically used the Latin Business Today post to armchair-psychologist myself, and the advice boils down to, Get on board, you’re moving, deal with it.

It’s a little bit funny to read now, since I know how badly I handled things after packing, driving from Nashville to Alexandria with three kids, and arriving to a house I’d never seen in person. I was in a dark mood as we waited in an empty house for our furniture to arrive. But it all falls under tip #4: Anticipate bumps in the road.

So what are your moving tips (and/or tragedies)? I start way in advance with grand intentions of packing two boxes per day, and I very intentionally go through items as I pack, organizing, purging, and cleaning. At the beginning. In theory. But of course it doesn’t really happen, and by the end we’re piling everything haphazardly into boxes labeled Miscellaneous.

I didn’t include that in the LBT piece, nor did I recount my breakdown when, at the height of the chaos—the morning before movers were coming, boxes and kids’ toys everywhere—we spotted our moving truck driving down the street, a day early. I lost it, and pulled Israel out of the shower. He ran down the street in his pajamas, waving our contract to prove the agree-upon date.

It all worked out in the end.

P.S. Great song, linking Nash to VA:

The Beer on the Head Story

Once upon a time when my parents were young, they moved to a new place.  This is when they lived in Dallas, I believe.  Their friends, another nice couple, joined them to help with the terror that is moving.  It had been a long day, and the finish line was in sight.

They had rented a truck, so the guys used that and the gals used another vehicle.  To Mom, it felt like she and her girlfriend had made more trips back and forth than the fellas, but, you know, it’s different stuff, maybe the men were getting heavier, more difficult items, etc., so she wanted to give the benefit of the doubt.

Mom and her friend  delivered their last load to the new house, and returned to the old place to do a final walk-through and then hit the cleaning (this might be the worst part of moving–you just want to be DONE!).  The guys must’ve been somewhere en route, but Mom was sure that Dad said they would head back to join in on the cleaning after they dropped their load of stuff at the new place.

Mom and her friend worked and worked; the guys didn’t show up; they wondered if the guys had gotten lost or hurt or arrested or something.  Finally, they finished the cleaning, no thanks to Dad and his friend, and hopped in the car to head to the new house (no doubt eyes peeled on the way, waiting to see the boys stranded with a flat tire).

I’d like to state at this time that Mom and Dad should have been using cell phones.  Problem solved.

So, Mom and her friend pull up to the new house, where they find boxes and boxes sitting out in the yard.  On two of the boxes sit Dad and his friend, relaxing, sipping beer.  Dad says, “Where in the world have you been?  We needed you here to tell us where all this stuff goes!”

Mom wordlessly walks up to Dad, takes his beer, pours it on his head, goes inside.

I’d like to state at this time that I can visualize the look that was likely on Mom’s face, even though I wasn’t even a twinkle in her eye at this point.  Sometimes I make that look myself.

Obviously, this is told from Mom’s point of view.  I’ll have to ask Dad to weigh in, if he even recalls the incident.  Mom also says that as soon as she did it, she felt bad and thought, well, that was a stupid thing to do.  I don’t really blame her though.

The other item that proves that the story must be mostly true, is that my gentle, peace-loving father went in the house a couple minutes later and asked Mom, “So, are you going to tell us where to put all these boxes?”

How to Move Without Freaking Out

Easy answer: don’t move.

Mom’s advice (is really an excuse for family history.  “Plot exposition. Has to go somewhere.”  Name that movie.)

We were not a great family of movers; [. . .specifics about who moved and when: not much on my mom’s side; more on Dad’s side–especially his maternal grandparents, Nano and Gandy.]  They lived in north Texas and San Antonio and Port Aransas and Corpus and Port La Vaca (the port of the cow?).  [. . .]  GrandBetty never gave me moving advice, but Nano had a few words to say about it.

She said one (and by that, she meant me) should always sweep and/or vaccum. Thoroughly.   Wipe the baseboards.  (Aunt Reba would say that’s good, because they’ll never be wiped again!)   Line the kitchen shelves.  SCRUB the bathroom.  PUT IN A NEW TOILET SEAT (her biggest rule).   Check for spiders and scorpions (scorpions probably not a problem in Alexandria) in the closets and under the kitchen sink; also a big rule.  She had some more, I think, but that’s what I remember.

The advice reveals some interesting generational gaps.   Nano’s generation (my great-grandmother): wipe the baseboards.   Aunt Reba (my great-aunt; my grandmother’s generation): yes, wipe the baseboards because you’ll never clean them again!   Mom: emails me advice about wiping baseboards, but really it’s a take-it-or-leave-it bit of advice.   My generation: I’m not positive about what baseboards are.

The end.  I’m living in piles of boxes.  I hate moving; HOWEVER, I did not pour a beer on Israel’s head, which is what Mama Rote did to Dad when they moved one time.  I’ll tell you about it soon.